In honor of Saturday, my post today will feature all words beginning with the letter S to debrief you on the latest and greatest!
Had another visit to the OR yesterday. The doctors added a synthetic layer of material to cover the wound on my right leg. This substance is intended to promote growth of some of my cells plus provide a nice surface for the upcoming skin graft to adhere to. I will be getting a skin graft in about 3weeks which sounds like it will require some good pain-management prayers (and cranking up the meds :).
My doctor decided my right leg could be cleared to attempt some weight-bearing as I can tolerate. Though there is clearly still a lot going on with that leg, the tibia is fine. The tibia typically bears about 80% of a person's weight and will support all of mine. Not tibical but should work fine (bad pun attempt I couldn't resist). I tried to stand on the leg Thursday for the first time. They brought in a special walker that has a little platform for my right arm since I can only use my forearm for strength on that side while everything heals. The left side is like a regular walker. I attempted to stand up on my right foot, with my wound vac still attached and tethered to the bed. They took me out of my splint and put my sock directly on the floor. It felt crazy on many levels. It was exciting to actually be up already and attempting to do this. As I let my weight bear, I felt many strong sensations and frankly some pain. My ankle area and back of calf were especially sensitive, getting used to this again plus my calf is on the backside of all the wound work. Day one was fun and humbling. Day two, Friday, we tried it again but with the help of an orthotic that looks like an extreme version of a snowboarding boot. Complete with the old pump-it-up technology that allows for the boot to have more or less pressure. Remember when that technology was all the rage in Reebok shoes btw?? Anyway, second standing attempt with the boot was a lot more comfortable. I actually did a 90-degree turn and back with some small hop-like maneuvers. Day two also fun (I'm up!) and humbling (rehab is going to be a marathon!).
Or insert your own S-word here. This category is referring to my right leg pain the last two nights. The pain management has gone well overall during my rest/non-procedure times. The last two nights however I've woken up to some severe pains in my right leg and foot. Probably a combo of surgeries and standing. They are doing a slight alteration of my pain meds to give me more options for these kinds of moments.
This little contraption has been my ticket to independent moving. Imagine a skateboard-sized flat board that can bridge the gap between surfaces. Simply put one end on point A and the other on point B, hop on and slide/scoot/pull while suspended, all depending on height difference to the destination. This tool and technique is my best current option to move to wheelchairs, bathroom equipment, etc and I have been working on mastering it. My technique is especially unique as I propel myself with my forearm on the right side since I can't use the hand just yet while I'm still healing in the splint glove. I'm so dead-set on doing the slide board without any help that I find myself channeling Morgan's 2-year old "I can do it myself" attitude. Just like her and other two-year olds around the world, I know this is a step to independence.
I am in shock and you may be as well to discover this news. I am going home today!! There have been many discussions the last couple of days between my ortho doc, the rehab doc, the PT, the case manager, etc regarding my options. They all agreed on this recommendation and of course I seconded it and agreed happily. I will go home and let my wounds heal. I will continue the light PT therapy I've been doing / PT the wounds can tolerate. They will send PT, OT and nursing to my home a few times a week I believe. PT (Physical Therapy) visits will help to keep training my light rehab options. OT (Occupational Therapy) will help with continuation of my hand exercises that I can do in the splint and give me suggestions on how to navigate my home. And the nurse support is for my wound dress changes and whatever else I need. When my wounds are healed, I will move straight to outpatient rehab for the hard core rehab. All of the consulting parties agreed I could be presented with this option because I'm self-motivated, can transfer without assistance (go slide board!) and have great support at home. I am beyond excited and frankly still in major shock. Healing in the comfort of my own home. Being with my family every night without having to run the kids to a hospital. Getting everyone into a routine. Eating meals together. Going on wheelchair walks outside on our road. Amazed. Shocked. Grateful.
So this technically means I'll be skipping in inpatient rehab phase. The other path -the path I was expecting - would have been to go to inpatient rehab for x number of weeks. Since they won't allow much rehab until my wounds are cleared, I'd basically be just healing in a hospital vs home. When I am ready for the multi-hour rehab sessions, the same exact work would be done in an inpatient or outpatient setting. I made sure to ask many clarifying questions because I am super excited to go home but at the same time didn't want to miss one day of working hard to rehab myself. I was assured the timeline was no different. And as my doctor just told me, he thinks I'll heal even faster at home. Skipping this whole inpatient step = impatient indeed!
(By the way I will have at least one more hospital stint. One for sure for my skin graft. If all goes well, that will be a day or two stay.)
My doctor said the two big issues they have with getting people healed (let alone home) are two issues that are out of his control. The first is the ability for the patient to cope with what has happened. Check. Second is for there to be a strong support system in place for the patient. Double check. I am so blessed to have the support system I have helping me on so many levels. At my house today there is basically the awesome equivalent of an Amish barn-raising happening! Here is a quick snapshot of a few of the activities:
-Aaron and family building a (temporary!) wheelchair ramp.
-A fellow charity board member (charity is Sleepyheadbeds.org-check it out) and aka angel among us delivering me a new and free to borrow TempurPedic adjustable twin bed to use in my living room for as long as I need it. He's even adjusting it to the exact height of my wheelchair to enable easy transfers. The bed has auto elevation for head and legs just like a hospital bed. I bet Aaron and Mitchell aren't going to want to send this back when I'm healed as it will be the ultimate lounger! (Morgan doesn't sit still long enough to care :)
-Kids getting to play with cousins and doing all kinds of outdoor activities I'm sure. Plus I can just visualize Mitchell with his little hammer in his belt, gloves on, acting tough with the ramp construction crew.
-Delivery of home equipment like wheelchair showing up, etc.
I can't tell you how thankful I am for the support I have. My family, Aaron's family, our friends, co-workers and bosses, neighbors, medical staff, etc. we are beyond blessed and hope we can be so amazing when it's someone else's time of need. Additionally, I feel such great support from this community that has risen up here on Caring Bridge. Your messages are equivalent to emotional vitamins to me!! Thank you to everyone. Those words seem insufficient!
My friend Michele texted me this a bit ago. I love it! Who says you can't go home??
Goodbye, hospital life!
(one more S! Seyller. I hope Miss Ellison Seyller is having an awesome 1st Birthday party! Wish we could be there!)